7 sales mistakes to avoid

7 Sales Incentive Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make

There are some common pitfalls to avoid when launching or reviewing your sales incentive programmes. Of course, each company and its goals are slightly different, but time and again we see the same mistakes being made with sales incentives. We thought we’d list them for you here.


1. Only Having Annual Programmes

The human psyche is a funny thing. Shorter programmes are seen as more achievable, even if you are asking for the same overall results over the course of the year! Although, it may seem like a larger payoff at the end of the year would be a more attractive prospect, it is the shorter programmes with smaller but more regular pay-outs (cash, vouchers or other rewards) that are more motivating for staff and sales teams.


2. Not Implementing a Sales Incentive Platform

While it may represent an initial investment, a sales platform is the perfect tool way to track, measure and reward your sales team. By Integrating the platform with your CRM and sales data, you will be able to gain insight into your team’s performance in real time and notifications when KPIs are reached. Your programme participants will also be able to track their progress with leader boards and reporting features.


3. Inconsistent Communication

It should be a glaringly obvious component of starting an incentive programme, but it is surprising how many companies fail to properly explain the programme to the participants. This has a direct impact on the success of the incentive programme and should be a key requirement when onboarding new members, especially when using a sales incentive platform. Always make sure that essential information such as FAQ pages accessible will facilitate the process and reduce programme admin.


4. Not using Gamification Elements

A key part of any sales incentive programme is the “fun” factor, which can play a big role in motivating the participants and getting the desired results. Gamification is the perfect way to make the programme more enjoyable and engaging. Sales leader boards still remain a great way to compare performance within teams. Who doesn’t want to be at the top and be named top salesperson? Having the participants earn points instead of a monetary value when completing a sale can gamify the experience and add extra value to reward redemptions.

While it’s now a common practice in Employee Recognition, rewarding badges or even stickers when reaching sales milestones or objectives can be a great way to improve short-term motivation.


5. Only Rewarding Results

This can make people feel discouraged if they are not getting those results during a sales slump or a seasonally slow period. What you should be rewarding is their increased activity during these times. Only measuring a person by the results doesn’t consider that sometimes it the chips don’t fall as they should. There are many components to a sales process that the salesperson doesn’t have any control over. These can include:

  • Competitor Price Discounts
  • Client Budget Cuts
  • Product Recall

What sort of activities should you reward? That will depend on your company, products and sales function. It could be a number of calls made, meetings booked, demonstrations carried out? If your business knows which activities regularly lead to decision maker buy in or convert, any increase in those activities should be rewarded. It shows hard work and perseverance, which should always be recognised.


6. Treating Sales Incentives As Compensation

Incentive programmes should not be a repackaged version of the main compensation/commission structure. This isn’t new, it isn’t exciting, it isn’t motivating. If you’re adding an incentive scheme to try and achieve what the main commission structure isn’t, that’s a problem. Look at the way you compensate your sales staff first and you’ll find that you’ll probably end up having to spend less on the incentive programme to achieve the same results!


7. Only Offering Cash

Ask your sales team what they would like to receive as an incentive reward and we’ll bet they’ll say cash. But many studies have shown that noncash rewards can be assigned a higher value by people than their actual value. Retail gift vouchers are a great way to offer choice to the reward recipient while offering value. Travel Incentives or experiences can be more appropriate for larger rewards (annual or quarter sales objectives). Cash is often seen as a compensation by many, (see point 6), whereas ‘treats’ that the person might not have otherwise bought are far more memorable.


Are you looking to launch or update your current sales incentive programme? Found out more about Ovation’s sales solutions and how they can help transform your business today!